"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Joy of Misery

James' admonition to "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance," (James 1:3) is of great importance for several reasons.

Firstly, it's biblical so it's altogether true, relevant, important and necessary.

Secondly, it's anti-human nature, which isn't surprising because that testifies to the accuracy of the Doctrine of Original Sin.

Thirdly, it's a continual reminder to shed existential thinking and be generationally-minded. Included with this is to remember the believer's ultimate destiny--up in heaven with God sans prior imperfections and past struggles with manifold temptations.

Fourthly, being joyful in the midst of trials, even if it's only an internalized joy at best, somewhat alleviates the present distress.

Fifthly, it reminds us to not be consumed with ourselves and to reorient our lives with God's calling in mind. Such a calling generally entails ministering to others rather than loading up on personal pleasures.

Sixthly, building perseverance is inevitable with anyone endeavoring to be Christ-like. Because perseverance is a trait all believers should expect to have instilled into their character, the pure joy expected to be expressed during the process is a disposition for which we need a great measure of grace.

A priority should be to understand God's purpose for the test and not so much to get out of it in time for your next bout with happiness. Because modern churchity tends to be blessing-centric it's impotent for its lack of maturity and completeness (James 1:4).


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